by Dan McCabe
Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite
You remember the little rhyme you told your children as you tucked them into bed at night. Well guess what! They're back and have returned with a vengeance. These little fellows certainly do bite, and squeezing them tight will do nothing to prevent them from coming back tomorrow night!
So where do these little demons come from and why have they started to make their presence known again?
According to Michael F Potter, an entomologist out of the University of Kentucky, bed bugs were for the most part non existent in North America, mostly due to the use of DDT in the mid to late 40's. With the elimination of DDT and many other products, combined with the ease of world travel, bed bugs have had a chance to re-populate this fine land.
Pest control procedures have also changed over the years and with good reason. It used to be that many common pests such as roaches or ants were very simply eliminated with residual spray treatments. This of course not only eliminated the target pest but also all the other crawling pests that would come in contact with the spray.
Today, many pest treatments are now targeted for that one particular pest and many of the products are now baits, rather than broadcast sprays.
What do they look like?
Contrary to popular belief bed bugs are not very small. They are about ¼ “in size, reddish brown in colour and have flat bodies. The best way to describe them is they are about the size of a flake of oatmeal.
The female can produce up to 5 eggs per day, which are whitish in colour and very hard to see.
The bed bug will shed its skin 5 times before it matures and needs a blood meal for this process to take place. A bed bug can live up to one year without a blood meal.
They are commonly found in box springs and the piping around the mattresses and are most active at night. They also will be found in night tables, headboards and bed frames. Really any areas close to the host could contain bedbugs.
One of the tell tale signs of a bed bug infestation is not only the bites but the blood spots found on the bed sheets and mattresses.
How do you get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are brought in through clothing, beds, suit cases and furniture. Often in apartment dwellings bed bugs are reintroduced when furniture, beds and mattresses are thrown out and a passer by picks them up for his/her own use.
Occasionally, in extreme situations, adjoining units may experience a bed bug problem caused by the original problem suite.
The treatment for bed bugs is very labour intensive, not only for the service technician, but the homeowner as well.
For an effective treatment all affected bedding must be laundered in hot water. A thorough vacuuming of the bed frame and baseboard areas and the removal of any excess clutter where bed bugs can hide is absolutely necessary.
A thorough treatment by a professional company using various approved residual sprays and dusts are the only way to solve the problem. Some companies have also added the use of steam treatments to the procedure.
Can cold or hot temperatures solve a bed bug infestation?
The simple answer is no. The temperatures will need to be above 120F and below freezing for several days before any effective kill can take place. This of course is not at all practical.
Bed bugs are definitely on the increase and a properly designed pest program should be in place to effectively handle these infestations.
Following these recommendations and more education on how these pests are introduced will help in keeping bed bug infestations away or at least to a minimum.